The Road of Mr. Underrated

As you all very well know, Brian Dumoulin is my favorite player on the Penguins roster. I’m a sucker for guys like him. Guys who fly under the radar and do their job to the best of their abilities and do it well. This was Brian Dumoulin all season long.

His offensive contributions for the regular season were minimal as he totaled 16 assists. Usually in a stat line, you read goals then assists. Yeah, that’s right. Dumoulin had 0 goals. He wouldn’t have it literally any other way.

Dumoulin is a rare breed of defenseman. He’s a very good puck mover and doesn’t skate entirely fast, but has the speed to keep up with the Penguins’ style of play. His transformation from barely cracking the starting lineup to becoming a top pair defenseman by the final game of the Penguins’ Stanley Cup run was remarkable.

  • Early Career

For those of you who don’t know, here is a minor snipet about Dumoulin’s road to the NHL. Before being a standout defenseman for the Boston College Eagles and being a vital part of the 2012 NCAA Hockey National Championship team as well as being a Hobey Baker finalist for the NCAA’s best hockey player, he was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round at number 51 overall in 2009.

The Hurricanes had finally been able to give him an entry level contract on April 10, 2012 and later traded him to the Penguins just 73 days later. Ironically, the Hurricanes GM at the time was good ole’ Jim Rutherford. He must’ve had a hunch of what was to come just a few seasons later.

  • The Trade That Changed It All

Rutherford had decided on that day that it was time to unite the Staal brothers to possibly go back and win another Stanley Cup, something he hadn’t done since 2006.

He and Ray Shero pulled the trigger on a deal that brought Dumoulin, Brandon Sutter, and the 8th overall pick that was used to select Derrick Pouliot to Pittsburgh. All the Penguins gave up was Jordan Staal. That trade looks great now.

Who would’ve guess that the most overlooked player in that entire trade would be averaging over 21 minutes TOI in the playoffs and playing with a defenseman the caliber of Kris Letang in the Stanley Cup Finals?

  • Constant Battle

It was always a debate between Dumoulin and former Penguins’ defenseman Scott Harrington as to who was the better defenseman. They were always considered the same type of player and finally Dumoulin was called up last season and ran with it. He ran with it enough that the Penguins decided to part ways with Harrington heading into this past season as he was sent to Toronto as part of the Phil Kessel deal.

Harrington started the NHL season on the NHL roster but was sent down and then injured and never saw time again. Dumoulin began growing as he played with Ben Lovejoy consistently throughout the beginning of the season under Mike Johnston.

When Trevor Daley was brought in, Dumoulin was promoted to play with Daley as Dumoulin’s partner Lovejoy was injured. Dumoulin was again promoted to the top line throughout the playoffs and showed he wasn’t going to look back.

  • Dumoulin Snipes

First Career Goal: https://youtu.be/3E1sJEP57g8

Second Career Goal: https://youtu.be/Tdi1tL3GCNs

Third Career Goal: https://youtu.be/XIJGMFUNMgY

Because Dumoulin hasn’t scored many goals, I figured pasting the three career goals he has into this article for your viewing enjoyment was neccesary.

Some interesting facts about these goals. The first two goals were scored over 100 games apart. Incredible right?

The first two goals of his career were scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Neither time was against the same goalie. It must be pretty tough to time up a Dumoulin shot, eh?

Interestingly enough, his most recent two goals were very clutch. Both the goal against Tampa Bay and the goal against San Jose came during the NHL’s playoffs. To have two career playoff goals before you have two career regular season goals is something I’d love to tell my kids later in life.

  • Why Is Dumo Underrated Then?

That’s a great question and not a bad one to ask. This day in age, players are noted for scoring. Goalies are known for stopping shots in large quantities and maintaining good save percentages.

I don’t think any Washington Capitals fan knew who Brian Dumoulin was heading into the series. They probably laughed when they heard he’d be lined up to shut down Alex Ovechkin in round two of the playoffs.

Dumoulin had the last laugh though. Instead of Ovechkin torturing the Pens like he had every other team in the NHL regular season, he only scored one goal in the entire series. It was a laser that beat goalie Matt Murray high on his glove side.

After posting a +11 rating in the regular season, Dumoulin’s +3 was non-reflective of how well he played and a huge reason why the Penguins were able to go on to win the Stanley Cup.

So you’ll ask again, why is Brian Dumoulin underrated? Because the players of his style go unnoticed. It’s almost an insult because he’s doing his job and doing it very, very well but the NHL is predicated on players scoring and those who don’t go unnoticed.

If you pulled Brian Dumoulin aside and asked him how much he cares that he doesn’t score goals, his answer would be simply that he doesn’t care.

He’s just very happy to be only the 12th player in Boston College history to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. He’s proud to have a chance to take the Stanley Cup back to his hometown of Biddeford, Maine for all of his friends and family to see. Most importantly, he’s just happy to be able to say he helped the Penguins win the fourth Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh Penguins organization history and plans to help them for many years to come.

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